Drought set to turn into downpour

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State meteorologists were issuing warnings for extreme weather in the counties of Trøndelag and Nordland on Tuesday, calling on residents to batten down the hatches and get ready for strong winds and pouring rain. The abrupt change in the weather comes after a long period with hardly any rain at all, which made the area vulnerable to brush fires.

It was only a few weeks ago that coastal areas in Trøndelag and Nordland were battling fires or basking in sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures, while the weather farther south was wet, wild and grey. Now the situation has turned, said meteorologist Mathilda Hallerstig.

“It’s very seldom that we warn of extreme weather in connection with rain,” Hallerstig told weather website yr.no, but now she and her colleagues are predicting “extreme amounts of rain” that they say will start pouring down on Trøndelag Tuesday evening.

Most of it was due in the area between the Trondheim Fjord, Helgeland and Saltfjellet. That’s where it’s been extremely dry, until now.

“We’re forecasting a complete turnaround,” Hallerstig said. “The areas where we now warn of extremely heavy rain are the same areas where we recently have been warning of forest- and brush fire danger. It’s not common that it changes so quickly.”

She said the dry spell, which has bordered on a drought, has been “very unusual” for the winter months. Now local residents need to brace for floods and blocked roads as the new storm system called “Kyrre” moves in over Trøndelag and then heads north. Hallerstig said the storm is expected to last for two days.

Erik Holmquist of the state waterways agency NVE also announced that flood danger was suddenly high. “We know that such situations (of heavy rain) can cause landslides, and everyone needs to be aware of that,” Holmquist told yr.no.

Heavy rain was predicted through Thursday, but meteorologists were uncertain how far north it would reach.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund